Brazil's president clings to power with corruption charges dismissed

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-03 16:27:53|Editor: Song Lifang
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BRASILIA, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian President Michel Temer will hold on to power as the Chamber of Deputies voted to reject corruption charges against him on Wednesday.

The lawsuit filed against the president by Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot has been dropped with 263 votes against 227 to dismiss the charges.

This case began in May, when Joesley Batista, the owner of a Brazilian meatpacker, the JBS, confessed that he had paid bribes to the president. He also turned over an audio recording, in which Temer can seemingly be heard signing off on bribes for public officials.

Temer's special advisor, Rodrigo Loures, was also caught on film receiving a suitcase of 500,000 Brazilian reais (about 160,000 U.S. dollars) allegedly destined for the president.

Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot then charged Temer with bribe-taking on June 26, the first such charge against a sitting president in Brazil's history.

On Wednesday afternoon, the vote was delayed since Temer's supporters and opponents in the Chamber had clashed at the scene. At the time, there were also protesters yelling "Temer out" outside the Congress.

Paulo Abi-Ackel, the Chamber's rapporteur on the case, said that the rejection does not presume a shield for the president against any future legal issue.

However, according to Brazilian law, the current result means Temer cannot be prosecuted on these corruption allegations again during his term in office.

While many people were not convinced of the decision, the president celebrated on Wednesday evening his victory to remain in power.

In a brief statement following the House session, Temer vowed to dedicate himself to the government and called for a solidary country "without resentment".

The president said that the Parliament's decision is not a victory for any individual, but for Brazil as a democracy, adding that the country should "take down the walls" separating the people.

Nevertheless, Brazil's political torments may not come to its end. Janot said he will file two more suits against Temer, in which he is suspected of obstruction of justice and criminal organization.

Janot on Wednesday also asked the Supreme Court to include Temer in the investigation into a conspiracy-based bribery by his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) leadership.

Therefore, Temer is still being investigated, in a process which involves the JBS and its head, Joesley Batista, who exchanged evidence for leniency.

If the Chief Prosecution Office decides to bring more charges against Temer, he will have to take the same old road once more. Hence it remains to be seen whether the Wednesday's victory will last till the end of his term in December 2018.